Sodor Island News and Updates

Here, we'll do our best to keep you informed of the latest happenings in the Thomas world...

Wanted: Your Days Out With Thomas Pictures & Videos!
July 17th, 2012

Sodor Island Fansite need your pictures and your videos!

 

People of the interwebs, we are currently in the process of renovating our Days Out With Thomas page, and we need your help to finish it and make it look more splendid than ever.

 

We are in need of photographs and videos taken at Days Out With Thomas events featuring engines dressed up as Thomas characters.  We will welcome pictures from the United States, Canada, Australia and other places that hold Days Out With Thomas events.  No matter where they've been taken or when, we will endeavour to use them as best we can.  We particularly need images from The Mid-Hants Railway of their Thomas and James, but we will accept videos and pictures from every railway that's held a Thomas event.

 

Our upcoming page is building up very nicely with info on the development of Days Out With Thomas events, and how the engines from the Skarloey Railway have became frequent long-term visitors to the Talyllyn Railway, among other items of interest!

 

Please e-mail your videos and images to us at:

sodorislandforums@hotmail.co.uk 

Thomas & Friends Production Moves To Arc Productions
February 6th, 2012

Thomas Moves To Toronto For Series 17 At Arc Productions

 

We had been aware of the news that Thomas was moving production houses since around the turn of the year.  Whilst I had been told in strict confidence by my source, the other SiF staff found out through other means, and all I could do was confirm the news.

 

Whilst we are not aware of when the decision for the changeover of animators was made, we are aware that Andrew Brenner was working with Nitrogen Studios for part of 2011 at least.  We had hoped to break the news earlier this year, but with Nitrogen Studios still subject to confidentiality agreements, there was no means of ethically confirming or denying this development.  All signs had pointed to Nitrogen producing the 17th series prior to the Arc takeover.

 

Fans can rest assured that all work done by Nitrogen is expected to be passed over to Arc Productions for work on the upcoming seasons of Thomas, so very little is expected to change in terms of visual quality we have been seeing since the end of 2009.

 

SiF would like to extend a very deep thanks to Nitrogen Studios for their dedication, hard work and stellar visuals which have made the last four seasons and specials.  We would like to pay special tribute to Greg Tiernan, whose outstanding contribution and enthusiasm for Thomas’s world has been tremendous.  Through the personal kindness and correspondence we have enjoyed with him, Greg will always be a friend of Sodor Island Forums.  We will endeavour to get some response we can publicise in the near future.

 

The new production team will see Rob Silvestri take over as Director and Kallan Kagan assume the role of Producer.

 

Nitrogen’s last Thomas production will be Blue Mountain Mystery, due in September of 2012.

 

HIT ENTERTAINMENT PRESS RELEASE

 

THE SiF BLOG - Arc Productions Blog

Exclusive: Series 16 Revelations
February 5th, 2012

Series 16 launches in the UK on the 20th of February 2012!

 

New Voice Talents

The current voice cast will be joined by two new members: Steven Kynman (best known as the voice of Fireman Sam in the CGI series) will be the new voice of Peter Sam and Paxton, whilst Michael Legge will voice Luke in Blue Mountain Mystery.  All three characters will maintain the same voices for the UK and US versions.

 

An Old Face Returns

Some of the SiF Staff have known about the return of this character for quite some time, but we have taken a vow of silence so as not to ruin the surprise for everyone else.  We are not divulging the name or giving any great clues as to who it is, as it would ruin the surprise.  Unlike Butch, they are not expected to be a leading player.

 

The Mystery Link

The Mystery Link is intended to go live tomorrow at 9am (UK time) and give a bit of a pleasant surprise.  An affiliate of SiForums and Fansite has exclusive and exciting news which you are unlikely to hear anywhere else!

Series 16 due to launch this month!
February 3rd, 2012

Series 16 launches in the UK on the 20th of February 2012!

 

Episode 1: Race To The Rescue

Flynn is worried about travelling on the road for the first time, and chooses to try and save the Fat Controller's shed by using the rails - instead of the quicker road route when Charlie makes fun of him.

 

Episode 2: Ol' Wheezy Wobbles
It's a bad day on Misty Island. Ol' Wheezy has stopped working! The Logging Locos don't know what to do, but Thomas is sure he can help.

 

Episode 3: Express Coming Through
It's a big day on Sodor! The Fat Controller's mother, Dowager Hatt, is having a party and she has invited some very important visitors.

 

Episode 4: Percy and the Monster of Brendam
On the island of Sodor, the fog is beginning to swirl into Brendam Docks. Percy is there, listening to one of Salty's tales!

 

Episode 5: Ho Ho Ho Snowman
Charlie loves the snow and decides to show Henry that it really can be fun! He hides behind a snowman and as Henry passes, Charlie pretends to be it!

SiF's MAGIC RAILROAD Mini-Site RELAUNCHED!
November 17th 2011

The Magic Railroad Mini-Site is open for business!

 

After months of extensively overhauling and reorganizing the Magic Railroad Mini-Site, we're pleased to officially relaunch this popular section of the Fansite! New content, some never before seen has been added, so you're all invited to check out the changes!

SiF TATMR MINI SITE

HIT ENTERTAINMENT BOUGHT OUT BY MATTEL
October 24th, 2011

Toy Giant Mattel to become Thomas's new controllers!

 

After months of rampant speculation, HIT Entertainment has finally been bought out by toy giant Mattel for a sum of £420 million pounds – well down on the original estimation of over £1 billion which the company had been touted for several months ago.  The move will prove extremely lucrative for Mattel in the long run, with the company holding exclusive rights to produce toys and games for the HIT Entertainment brands which they are now due to own when the final transaction is made by early next year.

 

In our recent poll for Part 3 of our Thomas & The Takeover series of blogs, Mattel were not highly rated by fans of Thomas – and were not seen as likely contenders with the likes of Disney in the running to buy up HIT as well and add it to their ever-growing portfolio of companies.

 

“Mattel is the right home for Thomas & Friends®.  This powerhouse brand is joining the ranks of such iconic brands as Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price® and American Girl®,” said Robert A. Eckert, chairman and chief executive officer of Mattel.  “Thomas & Friends® routinely ranks among the world’s leading preschool toys.  Additionally, with more than half of the Thomas & Friends® revenue generated from non-toy products, this transaction will marry Mattel’s global marketing, distribution and brand management capabilities with HIT Entertainment’s global programming and licensing expertise to accelerate growth of the combined portfolio.”

 

Mattel are already the producers of several Thomas & Friends toys, however, will take over exclusive production of merchandising over the next few years, with the addition of the Thomas Wooden Railway franchise from 2013, which is currently under licence to the RC2 firm until the end of 2012, when Mattel hope to expand this side of their business.  Mattel previously acquired the Die-cast metal / plastic line of toys from RC2 following the lead paint fiasco, and rebranded the Take-Along Thomas toy line as Take And Play instead, whilst retaining the original tooling and distinctive look of the toy brand.

 

Mattel have been involved with the production HIT Entertainment as recently as this year, with character designs for the 2014 movie done by the company for HIT Movies.  Whilst the signs have been there that the two companies would soon be joining forces, they had been somewhat ignored as the prospect of a takeover by a media group seemed more likely to fans.  However, given the emphasis that has been placed on the production and sale of toys for the Thomas brand particularly, it seems like Mattel could be a natural choice.

 

Look out for a special edition of Thomas & The Takeover – The Winning Bid later this week!

 

READ THE OFFICIAL HIT ENTERTAINMENT PRESS RELEASE

 

BBC NEWS REPORT

 

THOMAS & THE TAKEOVER BLOG SERIES

 

THOMAS & THE TAKEOVER - ESSAY ANNEX

SiF's Biggest Auction So Far
September 2nd, 2011

SiF to launch special auction to raise money for cancer charity in Matt Dawson’s memory

 

To honour the memory of SiF member, Matt Dawson, who passed away in August after a prolonged battle with cancer, the SiF Staff Team are currently preparing to launch a special auction to raise money for Clic Sargent Children Cancer Charity.

 

Matt suffered from the most aggressive form of Rhabdomyosarcoma – a cancer that affects the soft tissues and only affects about 50 children in the UK per year.  However, despite this grueling challenge, he remained courageous and maintained a positive outlook and won a great deal of support on SiF throughout his time with us.

 

We will launch a special E-bay Auction on Wednesday the 7th of September, which will run for 10 days.  Up for grabs is a very special package containing a copy of Railway Series 42, Thomas And His Friends, signed by Christopher Awdry, along with a copy of the Rev. W. Awdry’s biography – The Thomas The Tank Engine Man, and a copy of Sodor: Reading Between The Lines.

 

This is a very special auction, the proceeds from which, will go to help a lot of children suffering with cancer within the UK.  Do not be discouraged from bidding if you live outside of the UK, as we will gladly ship the books worldwide.

 

We would also like to encourage as many individual donations that people are willing to give outwith the auction as possible.  This will contribute to our overall total, and everyone who donates will receive a place on our Roll of Honour.  Even if it’s only £1 or $1, it’s a contribution that will count toward the final total and help Clic Sargent fund their incredible work.

 

So please, bid on the auction or just give what you can to help us raise money for Clic Sargent Children Cancer Charity in memory of Matt Dawson.

 

If you have any enquiries regarding the auction, or wish to make a donation, please contact us at sodorislandforums@hotmail.co.uk

SiF's New Look Thomas Episode Guide Launches This Friday!
July 15th 2011

SiFansite now linked to from Juniper Junction and ToonHound!

 

SiF will be relaunching the Thomas Episode Guide this coming Friday.  The Guide has been updated with new banners and logos, as well as providing a range of links where to buy DVDs, and linking to Channel 5's On Demand Service for Thomas.

 

The brand new Series 15 Page boasts links to Simon's Series 15 Blog Reviews, the Roll Along Blog's Series 15 DVD poll, and a brand new parody written by Professor Vengeance, which is exclusive to the Episode Guide.

 

We hope you enjoy the alterations we've made when they launch this Friday!

Chris Awdry pulls out of SiF Interview
August 6th 2011

SiF's Interview With Chris Awdry called off...

 

We are sad to announce that our interview with Christopher Awdry has been called off.  Christopher had endeavoured to answer our questions last weekend, whilst conducting a Book Tour for Book 42, however, mitigating circumstances did not allow for this to happen.  Although he wishes us and fans of the Railway Series well, and thanks us for our support, he has decided to withdraw from the interview at this present time.

 

Whilst we are disappointed about this, we accept the situation and send our regards to Mr Awdry.  This will not affect the upcoming competition that we hope to run this month, however, where we will be giving away a signed copy of Railway Series 42 to one lucky winner.  Full details will be coming soon.

Meet SiF's Equivalents From Japan!
July 26th 2011

SiFansite Interviews To Be Translated Into Japanese!

 

SiF’s many interviews with cast, crew, writers and musicians are to be made available to a wider audience as they are translated into Japanese, to be showcased on the Peep Peep Thomas Fansite, run by KC in Japan.  Similar to ourselves, KC runs a site, an associated YouTube Channel and tie-in Blog, all for the benefit of Japanese fans.

 

SiF has struck an agreement with Peep Peep Thomas that we will try to help each other out in future, and pool our knowledge and expertise to provide many great benefits to the wider fanbase across the world.  There is much to be learned from one another, and we hope to build on that in the coming months and years.

 

We are proud to be associated and linked with Peep Peep Thomas, and wish them dry rails and smooth running for future.

 

Click Here To Visit Peep Peep Thomas Fansite 

SiF Make New Connections!
July 3rd 2011

SiFansite now linked to from Juniper Junction and ToonHound!

 

Prior to launching our Classic Kids Vids month, we showcased a trailer for excellent stop-motion production, Juniper Junction, on Sodor Island Fansite.  The response to the video was extremely encouraging, and after a friendly exchange with the creators, we are now linked on their website and they can be found in our links page.

 

SiFansite will launch a very special competition at the end of this week, where three lucky people will win copies of Juniper Junction.  Keep checking here for more details.

 

In addition to Juniper Junction, we are now also linked to from the excellent ToonHound website, a brilliant reference guide for British animation, and a must-see for nostalgics who want to relive their childhood.  We will also be linking back to ToonHound to show our appreciation for their help.

EXCLUSIVE: Nitrogen Studios Reveal Hand In Building E2 Thomas For 2014 Movie Poster
June 20th, 2011

Nitrogen Studios get a hand in creating authentic E2 Thomas for the new movie...

 

Many people have been in awe and pored over the poster of for the new Thomas Movie, which sees our favourite blue tank engine authentically and faithfully depicted as a genuine E2 Billington Tank Engine.  Given that the press releases associated with the movie have named WNET as the source of the movie's special effects, we can exclusively reveal that they did not build the E2 model for the poster.

 

There was speculation from the quality of the image that it was not the work of Nitrogen Studios... SiF can exclusively reveal that Greg Tiernan and his team built the new Thomas model and supplied it for the poster to be created.  He is absolutely chuffed to the gut that people recognised it as a proper E2, and the Nitrogen team are thrilled with the reaction it's been receiving and would like to pass on their gratitude to the fans for their praise.

 

'The E2 that we built is based on two or three of the E2s that are pictured in the Lawson Billinton biography, as well as some missing parts of the DNA (i.e. Areas on the engine that were not visible in the photographs) being supplied by our referencing the restored Birch Grove E4.'

 

As a fellow Rail Fan, and a man with a passion for locomotives in general, I had a funny feeling that Greg would be involved somehow.  He has called the experience of building the E2 model 'extremely satisfying', and given the quality of the work done, we can see why.  It is as yet unconfirmed if Nitrogen will have a role within the actual production of the new Thomas Movie due out in 2014.  However, Greg assures us that if they are involved, Thomas fans will not be disappointed with the quality of their work.

Helmer Shane Acker Named as New Thomas Movie Director Plus Teaser Poster Art!
June 8th, 2011

Teaser poster art for upcoming Thomas theatrical

9's Helmer Shane Acker will Direct! 

With our many thanks to SiF's crscottjr for sharing the following information.

 

It has been revealed that 9's award-winning film director Shane Acker has been recruited to direct the upcoming Thomas theactrical movie.  In an interview with Deadline.com, Acker reveals the background plot that will serve as the basis for the movie.

 

"The tale will revolve around a pre-teen boy who has drifted apart from his father. The son is introduced into this world of Sodor, a place his father visited as a child but can't remember. There is a bonding experience."

 

The article also mentions that in addition to Josh Klausner, the script was co-written by Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, credited as writers for The Tale of  Desperaux (2008). New Zealand's   WETA digital, the renown company currently working of Rise of the Apes and Peter Jackson;s The Hobbit will be creating the special effects for the Thomas Movie.

 

The movie itself will be geared for a slightly older audience than the traditional pre-school age target of the current TV Series, but will still be considerate of the younger viewers:

 

"Acker acknowledges that he wants to broaden the movie's audience beyond pre-schoolers, but has no interest in causing nightmares."

What is encouraging is that movie spin-off  merchandise will be sold in the toy vehicle section of retail stores and kept separate from the line of toddler-geared Thomas products.

 

If  the teaser poster artwork of our favorite Billington E2 engine is an indication of the movie's quality, it indeed serves well as a movie we can all look forward to seeing!

 

SiF wishes Mr. Acker and his team all the best with  dry rails with his upcoming work on the Thomas Movie!

 

Source Articles:  Coming Soon and Deadline.com

Railway Series 42 Storylines & Titles Revealed
June 3rd, 2011

Railway Series 42 - Thomas and his Friends

Egmont Reveal Final Cover Art For New Railway Series Book

 

The first synopsises of the new Railway Series book, Thomas and his Friends have been revealed by Egmont Books:

 

Thomas and the Swan: Thomas rescues a swan from a bridge parapet, and Pip and Emma make a welcome return.


Buffer Bashing: Donald and Douglas cause trouble by smashing into the buffers.


Gordon's Fire Service: Gordon proves a hero on the scene of a fire


Centenary: The engines prepare to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the Thin Clergyman but must work quickly to make sure the celebration happens after an important bridge collapses.

 

The first story is likely to be a rehash of an Annual Story, adapted for use as a full Railway Series story.  We would like to extend our thanks to modelsofsodor on YouTube for revealing the information, however, would also like to make the public aware that the titles and subject matter are subject to change as the sales information was uploaded before the book was actually written.  There may be more surprises in store before July's official release!

Railway Series 42 Cover Art Revealed
May 22nd, 2011

Railway Series 42 - Thomas and his Friends

Egmont Reveal Final Cover Art For New Railway Series Book

 

Whilst browsing on the Egmont website, we have found the official cover-art for the upcoming Railway Series book, which is now confirmed to be officially titled Thomas & His Friends.

 

The cover-art seems to be an updated illustration of the Railway Series 39 – Thomas & The Fat Controller’s Engines.  Why this has been done remains to be seen, Egmont have not been forthcoming with details about the upcoming release, however, SiF will continue to pursue them before the publication date in July.

Real Lives Of Thomas Contribute To Royal Mail Awdry Centenary Stamps
May 21st, 2011

Real Lives Of Thomas Site To Be Recognised In Royal Mail Publication Bulletin

 

SiF would like to extend our congratulations to our friends over at The Real Lives of Thomas site, who have had small input into the creation of the Royal Mail Stamps to celebrate the 100th Birthday of the Reverend Wilbert Awdry in June.

 

SiF were contacted last weekend through our e-mail to consider allowing use of one of our articles for the Royal Mail Bulletin, however, there was a failure on our part to act quickly enough, and we missed our chance to grant permission to use our services.  However, The Real Lives of Thomas will be referenced in the upcoming Bulletin and fly the flag for the Railway Series and the original books.

 

The Real Lives of Thomas site is the only site dedicated to the works of the Reverend Awdry and the Railway Series books, and not the Thomas The Tank Engine TV Series.  Given the importance of 2011 as a year for the Awdry family and fans of the Railway Series, we would encourage all visitors to Sodor Island Fansite to pay them a visit and learn about the true origins of the Island of Sodor.

 

Click Here To Visit The Real Lives Of Thomas Site

New Head Writer For Thomas & Friends
May 4th, 2011

New Head Writer For Thomas & Friends

 

Following Greg Tiernan’s promise that things were going to be looking up for Thomas and Friends, we can now reveal that there is change on the way.  Amidst changes across the board at HIT Entertainment, Thomas’s Head Writer of seven series, Sharon Miller, has stood down from the post to make way for new blood in the form of writing veteran, Andrew Brenner.

 

Whilst Greg had only stated that improvements and changes would take place, he never stated what these would be explicitly.  However, through a trusted source, the information was revealed to us in mid-March, although we were asked not to say anything at that stage.  We have since been given the blessing to confirm that the rumours currently circulating are true, and will yeild some hope for those let down by the Series 15 output.

 

Andrew has had previous involvement with Thomas, back in the days of the Britt Allcroft Company when he was involved with comic stories which were adapted to the screen for Series 3.  Since then he has gone on to become Head Writer for series such as Tractor Tom, Angelina Ballerina, The Cramp Twins and the new CGI Fireman Sam, as well as creating his own series Humf for Nick Jr. UK.

 

At this point, we do not know what Andrew’s definitive plans for the series are, and if they will be accomplished.  However, rumour has it that he hopes to return the writing of the series to the original style, which hopefully means an end to the current imposing, formulaic writing style.

 

However, Sharon Miller will still be involved with Thomas & Friends as the Voice Director for the series.  Her final contributions to the writing of the series will come as part of Series 16, due to air in the autumn of this year, and is likely to have penned her final ‘Special’ for Thomas & Friends prior to this.  The likelihood is that Andrew’s first contributions to the series will air in 2012 when Series 17 airs.

 

The Sodor Island Community would like to wish Sharon all the best in future endeavours, and extend a hearty welcome to Andrew Brenner as the new Head Writer for Thomas & Friends.

Extended Railway Series Guide
Launching In Stages Throughout 2011
May 1st, 2011

Brand New Mini-Site Launched!

 

Writing for new volumes as part of The Extended Railway Series Overhaul was completed in December of 2010 after a long, painstaking process on the part of the ERS Staff.

 

Since then, the laborious job of completing the Extended Railway Series Online Guide has been going on steadily, with new profiles for each of the characters being written up, and new profile images for each of the featuring Railway Series and Extended Railway Series characters being created.  There's still a long way to go, but each section of the guide will be slowly pieced together over time.

 

The first piece to be semi-finalised for release is the SodOil Refinery, home to Kaiser the Fireless Engine.

 

We will be releasing more over time, and hope you will enjoy learning more about the developments we have made across Sodor since the Railway Series left off in 1996.

Coming Later This Week...
April 4th, 2011

A Brand New Interview Coming This Friday!

 

Now that the time for April Fools gags has passed, Sodor Island Fansite is proud to announce that our latest interview will be coming out this Friday – with none other than Greg Tiernan of Nitrogen Studios, the current Director of the new CGI Thomas series.

 

Greg and Nicole Stinn have been kind enough to answer our extensive range of questions over the series, their previous knowledge of the Railway Series, locomotives they’d like to see in the series, and tell us a little bit about how they came to be where they are today with the excellent work that Nitrogen Studios are providing.  You may have been witness to their work before and never realised it.

 

This is by far our longest interview to date, and we thank Greg and Nicole wholeheartedly for their honest, informative and very interesting answers.  We hope you’ll enjoy reading it when it launches this weekend!

 

Click Here To Check Out The Other Interviews We’ve Had! 

Why We Should Look Forward To RWS 42
April 3, 2011

First, A Few Final Words About The April Fool's Prank...


If you haven't already done so, we highly recommend that you read Simon's SiF Blog entry about the motives behind this year's April Fool's prank. In the blog, Simon stresses the importance of why we should all be excited about RWS No.42, and in comparison to how the early TV series generated positive memories that endure to this day. To drive this message home, we shall not dwell upon the performance of the recent Series, but instead reflect back on the way things used to be. On the 9th October 1984, a new Children's television series made its debut in the United Kingdom, and two very prominent figures appeared on Good Morning Britain that day to promote the show...
 
This text will be replaced by the player
 
It is comforting to see the Rev. Awdry in such good cheer as he endorses the new series. You will notice that at one point, the good Rev. is very complimentary of artist Clive Spong, who at that time had illustrated son Christopher's 2nd RWS book: James and the Diesel Engines. Twenty-seven years later, Clive demonstrates his continued loyalty to the RWS by providing the artwork for Volume 42 which will grace bookstall shelves later this summer. 

It is therefore fitting that we all pitch in to promote No.42 whenever and however we are able to. In closing, we hope that this little treat inspires you to do that!
 
Note: We apologize for the clip's quality - it was recorded by some anonymous Beatles fan on their VCR over a quarter-century ago!, and was found on a DVD of fan-compiled Beatles telecasts. We hope to upload the edited clip to SiF's YT Channel in the near-future - in the meantime, enjoy! :)

No Word On Railway Series 42 As Yet
April 1st, 2011

April Fool!

We Thought We'd Start Earlier This Year...

 

We are very sorry for getting people's hopes up, but this has probably been the best April Fools Day gag we have pulled to date.  There was a major clue left in the initial statement, which few people have picked up on.  I constructed the italics to read 'this is not true', and a few people caught us out early on when they noticed.  However, the hysteria it has caused on the Forum with speculation, and with the Thomas Wikia and various blogs reporting the news, it's clear that not everyone read between the lines.

 

Above is an image of Sodor Castle, gifted to me from my good friends on the Sodor Island Staff Team back in August, and painted beautifully by one of my favourite Railway Artists.  The face is not a permanent fixture, it's been photoshopped on for display purpose here.

 

As yet, no formal details have been revealed regarding Railway Series 42.  Therefore, the book still has a lot of surprises in store for fans of the books, and that mystery is most likely adding to the excitement and enthusiasm that most are feeling for the book's publication date on the 4th of July this year.  Given the disappointment felt by fans following HIT Entertainment's most recent series, we would strongly encourage people to buy this book when it is published.  It's a much-anticipated release, and in the same breath, it's a restoration of our faith in Thomas when we need it the most.

 

SiF would like to wish Christopher Awdry and Egmont Books the best of luck with the new Railway Series volume

 

Happy April Fools Day Everyone!

Sodor Castle To Visit The Battlefield Railway
March 27th, 2011

Extended Railway Series favourite makes a personal appearance!

 

He’s featured in dozens of Extended Railway Series volumes, been committed to Trainz as a Si3D model, and now Sodor Castle will be making his first public appearance at the Battlefield Railway on the 2nd of April 2010 as a static display at the railway’s Day Out With Thomas events.

 

Sodor Castle will join Thomas, Fergus, BoCo, Daisy, The Fat Controller and Mr Conductor as they have a fun and exciting day, filled with games, storytelling and races up and down the station at Shackerstone Station.

 

Full details of the event can be found on the Battlefield Railway’s website, click here to find out more about the events and how to book advance tickets.

 

Here's to a brilliant event at the Battlefield Railway!

EXCLUSIVE: New RWS Character Identity To Be Revealed By SiF
March 19th, 2011

Breaking News Regarding Railway Series 42

 

SiF have received new information that the new Railway Series character due to debut in Book 42 will be a little ‘closer to home’ for SiF than anyone could have predicted or hoped for.  We have received confirmation on the character’s identity, and given our blessing for its use so that the artist may proceed with completing the images prior to the publication.

 

This is by far a major milestone in SiF History, and we are delighted by the acknowledgement.  The source has promised to share a sample of the as yet uncompleted artwork for the new character toward the end of the month, and given us special permission to post it here for all to see.  We ask that it is not reproduced on YouTube or elsewhere out of respect to our source and their kindness.  The SiF staff still cannot believe the news is true!

 

Stay Tuned To SiFansite For Updates On Railway Series 42!

HIT Confirm Info On Series 15 & Day Of The Diesels
March 8th, 2011

Interesting Information Regading Series 15 & Day of The Diesels

 

HIT Entertainment have released a statement exclusively to SiF with regards to the broadcasting status of Series 15, and the way it sits with regards to the upcoming Special.

 

For more information and to read the statement that HIT have released to us, please visit The SiF Blog.

 

Click Here To Visit The SiF Blog To See The Information 

RWS 42 Prototype Cover Revealed
March 4th, 2011

The Prototype Cover Is Released

 

Amazon.co.uk have revealed what we hope is simply the prototype artwork for The Railway Series 42 - Thomas & His Friends.  It's highly unlikely that this is the finished product due out in July, given the fact that they have reused an image which dates back to 1995 and Book 39, and the 'working title' is still in place.

RWS 42 - Prototype Cover

Greg Tiernan & Nicole Stinn Send Their Regards To SiF
March 4th, 2011

Greg and Nicole encourage the fans to keep the faith – better things are coming!

 

If you’ve been reading The SiF Blog this week, you’ll have read Simon’s reviews on Series 15 and the general state of affairs with the current Thomas & Friends production as a whole.  The reviews and comments with regard to the writing have been particularly scathing, but a great deal of favour has been found with the CGI production itself.

 

Much to my surprise this evening, I received a lovely e-mail from Greg Tiernan (Director) and Nicole Stinn (Producer) to assure SiF’ers and the wider fandom that better things are coming:

 

Hi Ryan,

Just a quick note to congratulate you and everyone at the Sodor Island Forums on reaching the million and a half hits mark. It's a very noteworthy achievement and testament to you and the SiF members' dedication and support of the Rev. Awdry's legacy.

We also want to thank you and the SiF members for your support and appreciation of Nitrogen's contribution to Thomas & Friends. Our team works very hard and is extremely dedicated in our attempt to make our work on each show and special better than the last. We make our fair share of mistakes, but it really does mean a lot to us to see that our efforts are being appreciated by the older fan base of the show.

We're very aware of the current disappointment among Thomas' fans with the writing on the show, but we sincerely hope that this current disappointment will not dampen your members' enthusiasm for future Thomas seasons and specials. To quote the Fat Controller, "... you will see, Diesel 10, that some things are worth waiting for...".

With our best wishes for continued success for yourself and for all at SiF,

Greg and Nicole

 

Although there is still a ‘wait and see’ period, we have been assured by Greg and the team at HIT that there are improvements on the way for the series in terms of writing.  These should kick in around Series 16 when it’s released this autumn, and you can expect some surprises forthcoming with more returning characters. 

 

In essence – keep the faith!

SiF Donate Funds From Charity Endeavour
March 4th, 2011

SiF Donate £118.50 to Charitable Causes

 

Sodor Island Forums have donated and topped up the funds accumulated from the Charity Auction for the British Railway Series Canvas print.  In February of this year, DealAjani won the auction and the print, which has now been sent out with a personalised message and signature from Simon Martin.

 

SiF Staff members, Simon & Ryan have topped up the funds raised from £66 to £100, and made for an even 50/50 split between the two chosen charities – The Corris Falcon Fund, to build a brand new narrow gauge steam locomotive, and The Railway Children Charity, which helps vulnerable street children across the world.

 

For the Corris Falcon Fund, we chose to sponsor the production of the Cylinder cover leading casting, which came to a cost of £56.  For The Railway Children, we donated £50, which with Gift Aid, will rise by £0.25 for every pound, bringing the grand overall total up to £62.50.

 

Our ‘Favourite Charities’ page has been updated again with the addition of the Bluebell Railway’s appeal to clear the ‘tip’ which is blocking their access to East Grinstead Station.  A video featured on the front page previously, produced by two members of the Society who are passionate to see the ‘tip’ cleared and trains running into the station has been embedded to continue the raising of awareness, in the hopes that people will part with their cash and help out.

 

We hope you will give generously to the causes we’re promoting – it’s well worth it!

Railway Series 42 - 'Working Title' Revealed
February 18th, 2011

Nothing Of Note For Railway Series 42 Yet!

 

Egmont Books are still no further to revealing any great detail about the next Railway Series book, due for release in July.  While it has been confirmed that Christopher Awdry has been writing new material for the release, due to mark 100 years of the Rev. W. Awdry, there has been very little said about the new book itself.  I sent off an e-mail to Egmont on Monday and received this back today:

 

Thank you for your email and I am delighted to hear that you are looking forward to the new Railway Series title which we will publish in the summer. The working title at present is, Thomas and his Friends. The stories in the book will cover a variety of topics.

 

The working title is likely to be subject to change when the final publication date looms closer, and will hopefully yield something closer to the heart of the subject matter Christopher Awdry is or has compiled.  However, it is in disappointingly stark contrast to the news for Thomas & Victoria in 2007, which not only saw SiF break the news first, six months ahead of the publication, but also gave a fuller outline of what the book would involve.

 

Anyone hoping for this release to be a renaissance for the Railway Series, will also be sadly disappointed.

 

At present we are committed to keeping the existing Railway Series titles in print but unfortunately sales of the series are very low nowadays. Young fans of Thomas today tend to prefer the books we produce that tie-in with the TV series. As a result, it is not commercially viable for us to produce a new Railway Series title every year.

 

Granted, the news is not what we had hoped for - but the Awdry legacy is being kept alive through the infrequent releases, timed to meet with moments of importance such as the re-release of the Christopher Awdry books and the Rev. W. Awdry's 100th anniversary.  We will continue to pursue Egmont Books for the time being until we receive conclusive answers regarding Book 42.

 

The Railway Series 42 will be released on July 4th 2011.

SiF Keep The Spirit Alive!

 

Anyone craving a Railway Series 'fix' will be pleased to know that our Extended Railway Series Online Guide is progressing well.  The majority of the work has been discussed at length and finalised, and it is all currently being pieced together on the new website, due to launch this spring.  The ERS Guide will have story summaries, character histories, route histories and much more to show how our interpretation of the Island of Sodor has developed in the face of privitisation and adapted to modernity in the post-British Railways Britain.

 

However, to read the actual stories, you will need to join up to the Sodor Island Forums!

Day Of The Diesels Trailers Released!
February 14th, 2011

The Official UK & US Trailers for the 2011 Special Released!

 

Diesel 10, Arry, Bert, Diesel and a new Diesel engine are on a mission to take over the Sodor Steamworks in the brand new Thomas & Friends special - Day Of The Diesels.  Official trailers for the new movie were released this morning on the official Thomas & Friends YouTube Channel, and we have them here to show you. 

 

However, after 25 minutes, they had been privatised for the time being, so will not play for now.  The blue steam engine in the UK trailer display is 'Belle'.

Devious Diesel Next For Bachmann Treatment!
February 13th, 2011

With Special Thanks To SnowflakeTH For The News

 

Following the release of official images for the new Bachmann Donald & Douglas models, it appears that the popular Thomas and Friends villain, Devious Diesel will be hot on their heels.  Diesel had been produced since the mid 1980s as part of the Hornby Thomas range, but has recently been subject to the discontinuation of certain items.

 

It is as yet unknown when Diesel will hit shelves, but more definitive dates will be released in due course.

 

A report on the Bachmann Model Range will be added to SiF's Thomas Merchandise Page in the coming days. :)

Bachmann Devious Diesel Is Listed On These Sites:
 

SiF's Milestone Treble-Whammy!
February 13th, 2011

1,500,000 Hits Overall / 1,027 Visitors In One Day / £56 raised through first charity auction!

 

On Saturday, February the 12th 2011 at 11.17pm (GMT), Sodor Island Fansite rolled had officially hit the 1,500,000 visitors mark.  We are absolutely thrilled at this achievement, and it’s been a testament to the work that SiF’s contributors have ploughed in over the last six years.  We were expecting the milestone to come at some point today, but a sudden upsurge in visitors brought things forward in a big way.

 

But to make things that little bit more special, the Fansite also achieved a tremendous feat when we pulled in 1,027 visitors within that 24 hour period.  No mean feat, and another ambition chalked off!

 

And finally, our first charity auction has been successful, and the British Railway Series Canvas Print has sold to a SiF member.  DealAjani’s bid of £56 went unchallenged and the print will now be heading out to Miami, Florida with a personalised message.  Simon and Ryan will be topping up the funds that the print has raised and splitting the money equally between the Railway Children Charity and The Corris Falcon Fund.

 

A very special thanks to everyone again for your support, contributions, well-wishing and most of all, your willingness to visit the Fansite so often.  The Forum’s Open Event is still ongoing, so we hope you will come by and join us before we close up again this evening.

 

Here's to the next time we hit the million mark!

Go Go Thomas The Tank Engine!
February 12th, 2011

The Possibility Of Power Rangers: Steam Team Looms Large...!

 

Power Rangers creator, Haim Saban has now joined Disney, Viacom, Chorion, Hasbro, Mattel and others among the interested parties for the purchase of HIT Entertainment and / or its assets.  Elie Dekel, President of Saban Brands, who bought back Power Rangers from Disney in 2010 and recently relaunched the series with the latest Samurai incarnation, has stated in an interview that the company are currently in talks with Apax Partners about buying out some of HIT’s assets.

 

“By definition, it hits some sweet spots for us.  You can pretty much bet if there’s transactional activity in the kids space on established brands that we are looking and aware of them. Whether or not we are pursuing or engaged is really on a case by case basis.”

 

Based on the Toei Company’s Super Sentai series, Saban’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was a global phenomenon when it launched in 1993, and became a multi-billion dollar empire.  He is currently on a mission with his new company, Saban Brands, to restore the fortunes of the multi-coloured superheroes to their former glory.   It has not yet been confirmed which HIT Entertainment assets the Saban wishes to acquire, if any at all.  However, from the recent passion and commitment shown toward the launch of Power Rangers: Samurai, it may be beneficial for a brand like Thomas & Friends to be a big fish in a small pond.

 

Through the buyout of Gullane in 2002, HIT became the biggest children’s production company outside of the United States.  With the likelihood of a buyout from an American company looming very large on the horizon, it’s a mantle they’re set to lose.  Former Disney CEO, Michael Eisner is also thought to be interested in acquiring HIT or its assets for his new company, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, a buyout firm.

 

Could it be "Morphin' Time?" on the Island of Sodor?  Let's wait and see! :)

To read the original source article for this story, click the link below:

 

Bloomberg Business Week - Saban, Eisner Said to Consider Bids for Thomas the Tank Engine

SiFansite Heads For A Million & A Half
February 6th, 2011

In the months since September, Sodor Island Fansite has seen the average visitor numbers rise significantly by 1,000 a week.  Whilst Fansite hits had slumped since 2007, a sudden resurgence in September 2010 has remained consistent and strong, driving us to one and a half million visitors sooner than we previously anticipated.

 

Therefore, over the weekend of the 11th to 13th February, Sodor Island Forums will be holding another Non-Member Open Event to celebrate the milestone to say thank you to all of our supporters and visitors who are not currently part of the boards.  We hope it will encourage more people to sign up to SiF as a result.

 

Thank you to everyone who has visited the Fansite over the last six years, and we hope to see more of you very soon!

SiF & The BRWS Join Up For Charity
February 2nd, 2011

The British Railway Series and Sodor Island Forums have joined forces to raise money for our two supported charitable organisations – The Railway Children and The Corris Falcon Fund.  From 8am on the 3rd of February 2011, you will be able to bid on a unique canvas print featuring the three main characters from The British Railway Series.  It’s the only one of it’s kind, and it will be signed, with a personal message to the highest bidder, by Simon Martin.

 

We encourage everyone who can or wishes to, to bid on the item and give generously.  However, if you’d rather donate privately to the fund we’re setting up, please let us know at sodorislandforums@hotmail.co.uk

SiF Prepare For A Special Charity Auction
January 15th, 2011

For a while, the SiF Staff Team have been discussing the possibility of fundraising for worthy charities and causes.  The main sticking point for all of us has been how we would do it, and who we would do it for.

 

There were a range of charitable causes discussed at length, such as those tackling cancer, child abuse, mental health and autism.  Subjects such as railway preservation also came about, and as supporters of railway heritage, the idea of sponsoring a locomotive’s restoration was also mooted.  However, the decision has been taken to raise funds for three organisations throughout 2011 and beyond, with SiF supporting The Railway Children, to help homeless children, and the Corris Falcon Project, to build a new steam locomotive.

 

Our first fundraising venture will be to help The Railway Children charity, which was set up by Series 5 Railway Consultant, David Maidment, in 1995.  We already have a page promoting the charity on Sodor Island Fansite, and would encourage people to give generously to help young people who are living on the streets across the world.  We intend to kick off proceedings in the coming weeks with a very special auction, where a very special item will be sold to the highest bidder.  And if it goes well, there will be more special items to come.

Thomas Theatrical Film Pushed Back AGAIN!
January 5th, 2011

The much anticipated release of Thomas's first theatrical film release under the HIT Movies franchise has been moved back again to 2012.  Originally announced for 2010, the film has been moved back repeatedly since the original announcement filtered through.
 
As the movie has been handled by the HIT Movies division, based in Los Angeles, details of the film have been very vague with very little information to tell.  The original draft of the script has been written by Josh Klausner, who penned Shrek The Third for Dreamworks.  Josh has communicated with Thomas fans through his Twitter page, and has said the film is due to take place around the times of World War II.  However, reports have suggested that funding for the feature still remains an issue, hindering progress.
 
Thus far, there have been no confirmations of casting, but there are plans to utilise a live action cast alongside CGI animation provided by Nitrogen Studios of Canada, who already provide production for the television series.

Railway Series 42 - Available For Pre-Order
January 5th, 2011

Online Retailer Amazon.co.uk have made the 42nd Railway Series title available for pre-order, ahead of the July 4th release.

 

Thus far, Egmont Books and the Awdry family have remained secretive over details regarding the upcoming book, however, the vague blurb which accompanied the pre-order option on Amazon.co.uk has hinted that a new character will be introduced into the Railway Series.  However, with details thin on the ground as to the official title, the content, setting and characters used in the new book, it's too early to state this as 'fact'.  SiF will continue to research the new book and report back with any significant findings before the July 2011 release.

 

In the meantime, anyone wishing to pre-order a copy can do so here:

 

Click Here To Pre-Order Railway Series 42 From Amazon.co.uk

Why The Missing Christmas Tree Feature Was Missing!
December 5th, 2010

It was with the fullest of intention on 5th of December to kick off our Christmas features with SI3D's Thomas & The Missing Christmas Tree feature, filmed with Sodor Island 3D's Trainz models.  However, a range of factors impeded our progress yesterday, which meant this good not go ahead as planned.

 

There were issues with the upload of the video as well as the access to the Fansite's Site Builder, which meant the exclusive showing could not go ahead.  Both SI3D Films and I apologise profusely to anyone who was looking forward to seeing the video yesterday on the Fansite, and we will make it up to you all at some point.

SiF Gets Festive
December 3rd, 2010

For the next month, SiFansite is going to be getting in the festive mood.  Throughout December, we will be using the SiFivision to show some of the best fan-made Thomas Christmas videos on offer.

 

We kick things off this Sunday with SI3D Films' Trainz adaptation of Thomas & The Missing Christmas Tree, which will be available exclusively for first viewing on the Fansite for one day only.  After that we have a brilliant mix of old and new to follow with an adaptation from The Railway Stories, a vintage Music Video, a brand new Nostalgic Years story and the return of a fan-favourite exclusive to Sodor Island Fansite - The Fat Controller's Christmas Monologue!

 

On top of that, we will be compiling our festive content from years gone by into a special 'Christmas Hamper' for you to download and get into the Christmas Spirit with later this month.

Railway Series 42 Due July 2011
November 15th, 2010

Egmont Books have confirmed to Sodor Island Forums member Silver Link that the publication date for Railway Series 42 will be the 4th of July 2011.  As yet, there is no indication as to an official title, what the book’s content will involve or which characters will be focussed upon.  However, Christopher Awdry will be the author and Clive Spong returns again as the illustrator.

 

SiFansite will continue to update fans with information regarding the status of the book’s upcoming release over the next few months.

Site Renovations Continue...
June 18th, 2010

The Character Profile pages are being updated one by one to make them more visually appealing.  The Railway Character and Non-Railway Character pages have already been completed, with Human Characters now being expanded to include notable animals and featuring other notable characters we've left out over the years.

 

The Days Out With Thomas page will be updated too with new writings on the History of the events and how they've grown over the years to make for a throroughly enjoyable day out.  This will also include other items like Drayton Manor's Thomas Land, as well as the original Thomas Land from Japan - of which we have exclusive photography courtesy of Truro.

 

Although its become one of the premier places on the net for independent Thomas related media, the SiF Productions site is in need of a radical makeover to make it more viable in the future.  In that, I am planning to discontinue some media and take it down off the bandwidth to create space.  Old media will reappear periodically for download as part of a 'Gone But Not Forgotten' page on the new media site.  In conjunction with that, a new layout will be made up for some pages, making media easier to find and navigate through.

Celebrating 65 Years In Style!
May 4th, 2010

On Saturday, May the 1st, I had the pleasure of being invited down to the Battlefield Railway in Leicester for their celebrations to mark the 65th Anniversary of Thomas and Friends.  Seven of these events will be held across the United Kingdom to mark the milestone, one for each region of the country.  However, the organisers will have to do a great deal to reach the standards that the Battlefield Railway set with the first one.

I was witness to the meticulous organisation of the volunteers who were setting up for the event the day before, and the level of commitment that HIT Entertainment and Zazz Project Management had to making sure that everyone, both young and old, had to having a good time on the day.  The event was a huge success for both the railway and for HIT Entertainment, and I cannot sing the praises of the Battlefield Railway volunteers highly enough for their tremendous efforts, warm reception and kind natures, it was wonderful to work with you all on the day.

I pass on the same praise to the families I met at the event.  There was not a single disappointed or sad face among the massive crowds, and everyone was very polite and friendly to deal with.  Five years ago I received a message from a disappointed mother who had taken her children to the 60th Anniversary Celebrations at Hatfield House.  She commented upon poor organisation, and how little there was for the children to do and enjoy.  Five years on, it seems that HIT Entertainment are getting their celebrations very right with the help of Britain’s Heritage Railways.

Thomas wears the SiF Express headboard!

I also wish to pay tribute to the Battlefield volunteers who allowed us the opportunity to mark the event by placing ‘The SiF Express’ headboard on Thomas for a photo.  The headboard made its debut last year on the Talyllyn Railway, being carried on Peter Sam for the first official ‘SiF Express’, and hopefully, it should be making runs again in future!

THE RAILWAY SERIES 42 DUE FOR RELEASE IN 2011
April 8th, 2010
It has been confirmed by Egmont Books, liscenced publishers of the Thomas & Friends brand, that The Railway Series will be continuing from where Thomas & Victoria left off in 2007.
 
Book 42 is as yet untitled, and there is no confirmation whatsoever on storylines or subject matter, however, we have been made aware that the book will be released in June 2011.  Whether this is a concious effort to mark the centenary of The Rev. W. Awdry is unknown, but we commend Egmont Books for adding another title to the series, and HIT Entertainment for encompassing all areas of the Thomas brand.
 
We hope to have updates on the new book as time goes on, and will release new information as and when we receive it.

INTERNET PROVIDER PROBLEMS FOR PROBOARDS FORUMS
Thursday of 18th March, 2010
 
For those of you trying to visit Sodor Island Forums or Sodor Island 3D Forums using SKY BROADBAND or BT BROADBAND are likely to be experiencing problems accessing Proboards Forums.  Proboards Support are trying to rectify the problem along with SKY, and attempts are ongoing.  There is nothing wrong with the forums or servers themselves, but there appears to be a problem at the end of the SKY BROADBAND or BT BROADBAND end.
 
We urge all members who cannot currently access the forum to keep trying or alternatively, keep checking Proboards Support for updates.

SiF SPEAK TO STEVE ASQUITH!
14th of February, 2010
 
Another major interview for Sodor Island Fansite with a man who spent 25 years of his life working to produce Thomas and Friends.  Steve Asquith became the second official Director of the series in 2004, taking over from David Mitton.  In our interview, Steve clears up a number of rumours and mistruths, explains a little about his own career away from Thomas, gives insight into the TV Series itself and shares his memories and favourite moments of filmography from his twenty five years of the live-action model animation format of the series.
 
The interview will launch in the course of this week - so keep an eye out for it!

BRITT REMEMBERS THE GEORGE CARLIN SHE KNEW
June 27th, 2008
 
Britt Allcroft has kindly offered her condolences to the late George Carlin by offering a message of rememberance to him, revealing to the world a side of George that not many people familiar with his comedy routine knew - his caring and loving side as the Storyteller for the American dub of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, as well as his part as Mr Conductor in Shining Time Station, as well as a personal friend to her long after they parted professional company, who provided George with many happy times.
 
With some amusing anecdotes and heart-warming sentiment, here's Britt's memories of George, as told through the LA Times:

AMERICAN STORYTELLER - GEORGE CARLIN - PASSES AWAY
23rd June, 2008
Another blow to Thomas Fans of the older generation in the United States

Within a month of David Mitton, we are sad to report that the man who gave Thomas his first American voice, George Carlin, has also passed away.  George died of heart-failure on the 22nd of June, after being taken to hospital complaining of chest pains.

George was the first proper American storyteller for Thomas the Tank Engine between 1991 and 1995, allowing American children to engage with the characters in their own native accent, and therefore allowing Thomas to thrive more readily in the American market.  In that time, he told the stories for Series 3 and 4, as well as retelling the original material that Ringo Starr had put out previously and rebranding it for the American audience.

He followed in Ringo's footsteps again as he became Shining Time Station's second resident storyteller, the eighteen-inch tall, Mr Conductor, playing Ringo's cousin after his character went off to the North Pole.  George played the character for two full seasons of the show as well as the remaining specials prior to Shining Time Station going into syndication in the mid 1990s.

George left the series to pursue his comedy act, and in 1998, Alec Baldwin took up the role of Thomas's American storyteller, and after which, became the third and last person to don the blue Mr Conductor suit for Thomas and the Magic Railroad.  George went on to star in other movie roles such as 1998's Dogma with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, as well as carrying on his comedy stage act and touring across the US.

Although not as widely regarded as Ringo Starr is for his contribution to Thomas, fans across the world owe a lot to George Carlin.  He was a masterful storyteller and the way he crossed the barriers of his comedy content to entertaining children across the world is undoubtedly a testament to him.
 
George Carlin - Rest In Peace!